Synopsis: Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.
So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.
But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.
So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).
My Thoughts: I'm going to apologize ahead of time gushing my way through this review. M.J. Rose writes the most magical stories! Her stories are so rich and she does a great job of developing the historical settings of her stories. I will read anything with a Russian twist to it so I really enjoyed the intrigue, Russian spies and encounters with the royal family. It added such a unique flair to the story.
It was fun to revisit the family of La Lune and Sandrine. Opaline is a fascinating character. I love the descriptions of her work as a jewelry maker; the pieces she made and the gems she worked with were fabulous. I also enjoyed reading about how she used her powers to help the grieving mothers of Paris; the concept of her being able to connect with dead soldiers through the jewelry she made was super interesting. The romance was beautiful; it was definitely different than anything I have read but the connection between Opaline and her love interest was amazing.
Also, this book had the best ending. It was so unexpected and I absolutely loved it. Overall, this was such a fun read! I liked the first Daughter of La Lune book but this one was even better! 4 stars.
About the Author:
M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.
She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.
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I received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.